Circular Economy & Plastics
In Scotland, we currently consume as if we had three planets available to produce the resources we use and absorb the waste we create.
Scotland’s material consumption accounts for 82% of our entire carbon footprint.
Moving to a circular economy – one in which materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible, will reduce our material demands and is key to meeting our climate commitments.
In order to move towards a circular economy, major changes to the way we make products and consume resources will need to be made, bringing economic opportunities and innovation.
Consuming the planet
Over-consumption by the wealthy few is pushing our whole planet to breaking point. Rich-nation economies like Scotland are built on the idea of unlimited growth, forcing consumption levels that are driving the climate crisis.
We need our leaders to make decisions on the basis that consumption must have limits, so that we can play a vital role in the road to social and environmental justice.
A better economy
Research has shown it is possible to live a high quality life on a sustainable level of material consumption of about eight tonnes per person per year. Scotland’s material footprint is currently more than double this figure.
Keeping materials circulating in our economy for as long as possible would reduce the burden on the countries where materials are sourced, often through dangerous practises, and reduce the waste that is disposed of with harmful processes like incineration.
What we are doing
- Putting pressure on the Scottish Government to include robust carbon footprint and material reduction targets in the Circular Economy Bill
- Building public awareness and understanding of the need for a circular economy
- Influencing decision makers to stop harmful waste disposal practices
- Engaging communities in the fight against new incinerators in their area.
Scotland has the materials, skills and demand to make this circular narrative a reality. We need a government willing to take bold steps towards a circular economy.Kim Pratt, Circular Economy Campaigner
- The Scottish Government has put a moratorium on new incinerators and is conducting a review into the future of these polluting installations
- A bottle deposit return scheme for Scotland will be implemented next year with the potential to significantly reduce our amount of waste
- The Scottish Government has banned a range of single-use plastic items, including plastic cutlery, plates, straws and expanded polystyrene food containers and cups.
The doorstep refill company making reuse easier
It’s vital we change the way we use materials in Scotland. We spoke to the founder of a reuse company to find out how it works.
How to cut your consumption this Christmas
The pressure to buy stuff is everywhere at Christmas, but you don’t need to spend money to celebrate. Here are some tips to have a more personal holiday that’s better for the planet.
Changing Scotland’s material use: a year of progress
In 2022, people across Scotland have been busily planning how to create a circular economy and it’s great that we’ve started to see progress in changing how we use materials in Scotland.
Latest Press Releases
Victory for local campaigners fighting a new incinerator in Clydebank
Environmental campaigners have welcomed the news that plans for a new incinerator at Rothesay Dock in Clydebank have been cancelled.
Scotland’s levels of material consumption laid bare in new report
Scotland’s levels of unsustainable material consumption have been laid bare in a new report, which gave is the worst circularity score of any country assessed to date.
New evidence for low carbon alternative to incineration and landfill
A new report shows that biostabilisation, a way of managing waste, has significant carbon savings over incineration and landfill.
Aggregates tax consultation response
This response sets out our position on a devolved aggregates tax and notes several areas for attention which are important to consider.
Response to the circular economy bill consultation
Our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Circular Economy Bill and Route Map.
The case for consumption-based targets
The Circular Economy Bill, currently being consulted on by the Scottish Government, is a timely opportunity to establish consumption-based targets for Scotland. Read our paper on why this is important.
Steel – position paper
Circular Economy in Action around the World – Lessons for Scotland
This report looks at circular economy case studies from around the world, and how they could benefit Scotland if they were implemented here.
National Planning Framework 4 Consultation Response
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